Colegio de San Juan de Letran flexed its muscle right from the get-go to easily dismantle University of Perpetual Help, 88-69, on Friday and claim the third Final Four seat in the NCAA Season 95 seniors basketball competition at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
Jerick Balanza and Christian Balagasay anchored the relentless first half offensive onslaught of the Knights, who joined defending champion San Beda University and Lyceum of the Philippines in the semifinals as they improved to a 11-6 win-loss record with their second straight victory, to set the tone.
"Good win at least yung team nag-peak na going to Final Four. Sana magtuluy-tuloy pa," said Letran coach Bonnie Tan, whose squad dominated the boards with 58-39 advantage and its starters and bench splitting the points equally to highlight Letran's balance scoring.
Balanza got 18 points before fouling out late in the fourth quarter while Balagasay went perfect on the field with 5-of-5 shooting for 18 points for the Intramuros-based squad. Ato Ular logged in a double-double with 17 markers 16 rebounds and Fran Yu scored 14 points with six boards and four assists for the Knights.
Letran dictated the pace of the match, taking control of the game with a huge first half downpour where the Knights built a 24-point advantage before entering the halftime break with a 50-30 lead.
It was the same story in the second half as Letran maintained its comfortable cushion. The Altas did cut the Knights’ lead to 68-56 at the start of the payoff period but Letran answered with seven unanswered points with Balanza scoring the last five points off a trey and a basket for a 75-56 advantage with 7:23 left.
Yu made it 88-64 with a trey in the last 2:22 of the game.
Perpetual absorbed its 11th defeat in 16 games to remain at seventh spot.
Edgar Charcos and Jielo Razon finished with 15 points each while Rey Peralta and Kim Aurin had 13 and 11 markers, respectively, for the Altas. Ben Adamos registered 10 markers for the Las Pinas-based squad.
Letran (88) -- Balanza 18, Balagazay 18, Ular 17, Yu 14, Batiller 6, Caralipio 6, Ambohot 3, Mina 3, Reyson 2, Muyang 1, Pambid 0, Guarino 0, Javillonar 0, Sangalang 0.
Perpetual (69) -- Charcos 15, Razon 15, Peralta 13, Aurin 11, Adamos 10, Giussani 5, Barasi 0, Tamayo 0, martel 0, Cuevas 0, lanoy 0, Sevilla 0, Lucero 0.
Quarter scores: 22-16; 50-30; 68-53; 88-69.
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